Second stimulus check: Why Tuesday is a crucial deadline

October 19, 2020

    An important deadline has been set for talks on a second stimulus check.

    On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a deadline early this week for an agreement to be reached between her and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on another round of coronavirus relief, CNN reports.

    The deadline leaves a short window for middle ground to be reached on a deal that has been in stop-and-start stalemate between lawmakers for months.

    If agreement is not reached by Pelosi's specified date, it also leaves a tight timeline and throws the chances of any bill going through before the 2020 election into question.

    While Pelosi conceded that Sunday talks between her and Mnuchin were productive, the House speaker said there are still several major sticking points that are causing disagreement.

    “While there was some encouraging news, much work remains. I am optimistic that we can reach agreement before the election,” Pelosi said in a statement on Sunday.

    Currently, the gap between both sides’ offers is the smallest it’s been on the negotiations, with Pelosi holding the line at Democrats’ $2.2 trillion offer, and the Trump administration upping its offer to $1.9 trillion, Yahoo reports.

    One of the major disagreements stands on the terms of testing laid out by Democrats, the language of which provision Pelosi claimed the White House made significant changes to.

    Other unresolved issues include the child tax credit, unemployment benefits, state and local funding, and others.

    Even if a deal is reached between House Democrats and the White House, a major challenge that would remain on a new bill passing through would be the Senate.

    Because the White House’s offer is higher than many Republication Senators are willing to go, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that he would not put a bill that expensive on the floor for a vote.

    However, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that McConnell has since then agreed that he would open the floor, although it was unclear if there would be enough votes.

    "There are some in the Senate that would support it. Whether there's enough votes to get to the 60-vote threshold, that's up to Leader McConnell," Meadows said. “He has agreed that he's willing to go ahead and put forth the bill if we have a bipartisan agreement."

    Ultimately, Meadows expressed optimism that a deal can be reached.

    "The President, Secretary Mnuchin, and myself have not only made modifications but made substantial modifications that come at the risk of jeopardizing Republican support,” he said on Monday. “The [Treasury] Secretary and I have had a number of very fruitful discussions over the last several days that give us a hope that we might be able to reach some kind of an agreement in the next 48 hours.”

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